Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

As a youngster, I would become excited when we would have "taco night" for dinner. My mother would prepare a plethora of toppings, then my brothers and I would be able to construct our own variations of tacos/salads: black beans, garbanzo beans, sautéed tofu, beef, chicken, white fish, guacamole, salsas (fruit based or tomato based), chutneys, shredded lettuce, etc.

Not much has changed.

I have always been a fish taco fan, in that I enjoy the gorgeous colors, vibrant flavors, ability to create a new taste with every bite, play on textures and health benefits.


To those who are gluten-free, substitute a large leaf of ice-berg lettuce, which will act at the "taco/tortilla" shell. I enjoy the cool, crisp crunch of lettuce as a compliment to the inside flavors. Low-carb and low-fat whole wheat tortillas exist, as do the "normal" flour/corn tortillas. Whatever tickles your fancy.

As far as what to put inside the taco:

White fish (tilapia is an excellent choice, as it is inexpensive and easy to sauté, bake or grill), shrimp, chicken, beef, turkey (ground or roasted), tofu, or beans/legumes and vegetables. Caramelized onions are often "staples" for any type of taco. Black beans, garbanzo beans and red beans are easy to prepare and add a brilliant "creamy" bite (leave as whole beans or puree into a smooth paste). Tofu is great when marinated overnight, then either lightly coated with Panko breadcrumbs and sautéed, or baked until golden brown. Warm sauteed vegetables compliment any type of taco. In order to incorporate a touch more protein, quinoa may also be added.

As far as salsas - I gravitate towards fruit salsas...

I love the mango/cilantro combination - diced mango, cilantro, lemon juice, pinch of sea salt, pinch of cayenne, shallots/red onions and jalapeños (to give it a kick).

Tomato/tomatillo salsa - diced tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeños, sea salt and cayenne, lemon juice/lime juice, shallots/onions (red or yellow)

Bell pepper salsa - red, orange and yellow diced up bell peppers, jalapeños, sea salt, cayenne, cilantro, lemon juice/lime juice, shallots/onions (red or yellow).

You may even use a smokey sea salt or a touch of liquid smoke in order to give the salsa a smokey flavor.

Other healthy toppings: guacamole - be mindful of portion control with guacamole - avocados are in fact a "heathy fat," but all fats - even when healthy - in moderation. Fat-free cheese (feta, cheddar, cottage cheese), hot sauces, plain 0% Greek Yogurt, lemon/lime juices, raw onions, pickles, seeds/nuts.

As far as tacos... one can pretty much develop thousands of variations of flavors/combinations. If you can wrap it up, then go for it!

Experimentation in the kitchen is an absolute joy! I encourage and challenge you to deconstruct "normal food" and transform into a taco-like state. Believe me, you'll create a whimsical, colorful - maybe even ridiculously messy - but creative and fun meal!

"The immediacy of a taco, handed to you hot from the grill and comal, can't be equaled. You can stand there and eat yourself silly with one taco after another, each made fresh for you and consumed within seconds. A great taco rocks with distinct tastes that roll on and on, like a little party on your tongue, with layers of flavors and textures: juicy, delicious fillings, perfectly seasoned; the taste of the soft corn tortilla; a morsel of salty cheese and finally, best of all, the bright explosion of a freshly-made salsa that suddenly ignites and unites everything on your palate. At the end of out two or three-bite taco you just want to repeat the experience until you are sated." - Deborah Schneider

Love y'all dearly!! 

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